Andreea Waters, Surfing More Than Just Real Estate Listings
Mary Prenon | March 2016
It is ironic, but Andreea Waters’ last name aptly reflects her passion—photographing surfers in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean right here in New York. The professional playground for the Irvington Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s agent is actually Rockaway Beach in Queens—not your typical venue for a “surfing safari.”
While surfing normally conjures up reveries of idyllic beaches in Hawaii or California, Waters has zeroed in on New York City as a unique stomping ground for those East-coasters who want to “catch a wave.”
What makes her story really distinctive is that she’s not a native New Yorker. In fact, she’s not even a Native American. Waters grew up in Romania and came to the U.S in 1990 as a young teenager to live with her aunt. “I arrived with a suitcase, and had to learn English,” she explained. “It was tough but it makes you stronger.” In fact, Waters admits the only really big problem she had was with American slang. “When people would say ‘What’s up,’ I would look at the ceiling!”
Prior to her foray into real estate, and moving to New York, Waters enjoyed a marketing career with the U.S. Tennis Association in Massachusetts. Later, she moved to New York.
What first piqued her interest in photography was a course at the International Center for Photography. “At the time, I had heard that people actually surfed in New York City, and one afternoon, back in 2012, I just drove out to Rockaway Beach to see for myself,” she said.
Waters admits that at first it was a bit peculiar seeing people carrying surfboards from the subway, and heading for a beach in Queens. “I started to watch them surf and it seemed so out of place with all the high rise buildings in the background. I just had to start taking pictures,” she said.
After showing the photos to her instructor at the center, she got the encouragement to continue. “I soon found that I had more passion in photographing the surfing culture than in anything else I had done to that point,” she said. “I love getting to know the people and their way of life.”
While Waters may have perceived surfing in the city as odd, some of the surfers had the same idea about her. “I got some curious looks like, ‘Who is this woman and why is she wearing boots on the beach!’ But I soon found that surfers love to have their photos taken,” she added.
Of course, it didn’t take long before her curiosity led her into the water. “Once I learned to surf I became addicted to it” she admitted. “It’s the hardest thing you could ever do—there’s just so much involved. You have to feel the water. Every ocean is different, so you always have to adapt.”
This Realtor, photographer and surfer has since surfed the Atlantic in New York and the Pacific in Venice Beach and Malibu California. Through her travels, she has met people of all ages and backgrounds. “Still, what’s most interesting about New York is there’s such a variety of people,” she said. “You may see men, women, artists, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, investment bankers, and people of every ethnicity. It is New York, a wealth of humanity, and it is brilliant.”
Waters has also just published her first book, “Surf NYC” which features sixty-four out of her 30,000 photos she’s taken over the past four years. She has book tour dates coming up in Westchester and New York City, and her book is available online at www.surfnyc.photo
A real estate rookie, Waters got her license just a few years ago and is happily navigating Westchester’s Rivertowns. A Hastings resident, she loves the area and the flexibility of her real estate career. “I couldn’t be happier doing what I do,” she said. “People don’t just buy homes, they buy lifestyles.”
“Most good waves happen in the morning, so you always have to watch the forecast,” she said. “And who doesn’t love photos of the ocean? It’s magic when all the elements are just right. Giving these moments back to the surfer and documenting a piece of New York surf history is precious.